In Flames – Clayman

This release was one of the turning points of my musical journey in life. This was around 2005 or 2006. Prior to this, I had listened to alternative rock band Cold and the hip hop of Wyclef Jean. However, I had heard various tracks on this release as well as Reroute to Remain at my friends house, at first thinking “Really, how can anyone get into this music?”. I then found myself going home and searching for the music online to check it out on a deeper level. As many may know, In Flames is a melodic death metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden, who had pioneered what was known as the “Gothenburg sound” with fellow bands At The Gates and Dark Tranquillity. Clayman is the band’s fifth full length album consisting of, at the time of this release, Anders Friden (Vocals), Jesper Strömblad (Guitars, Organ), Björn Gelotte (Guitars), Daniel Svensson (Drums), and Peter Iwers (Bass). Clayman is easily one of my favorite In Flames albums, as pretty much all of the tracks are excellent, when they were still at the top of their game. Bullet Ride opens up the album and sets a solid pacing for the entire album, bringing with it some powerful drumming and chugging guitars, only to break away to some nice acoustic and Anders’ speaking vocals. It then picks up with some catchy lead as Anders breaks out into his signature screaming style of the time. Only For The Weak is another good one, which is somewhat slower with an extremely catchy sound. Title track Clayman is amazing, with its badass rapid fire intro and expertly crafted composition and progression. Satellites and Astronauts is a good change of pace, with a mystifying acoustic opening and interludes throughout. Anders vocal style on this release is top notch, with mixtures of his screaming and clean speaking. Jesper has some amazing solos sprinkled throughout the album which totally unifies the songs. Many bands have attempted to emulate this sound, but they can do no better than this. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the band nowadays, for they have deteriorated in sound quality to an utterly disgusting extreme. However that is for another review, another time. This release is where it is: excellent composition, amazing solos and guitar work, finely crafted drumming, and superb vocals. This was truly a great release for melodic death metal as a whole and I definitely recommend listening to it. It may change your life as it did mine.

Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Release: July 25th, 2000

 

Tracklist:
1. Bullet Ride
2. Pinball Map
3. Only For The Weak
4. …As The Future Repeats Today
5. Square Nothing
6. Clayman
7. Satellites And Astronauts
8. Brush The Dust Away
9. Swim
10. Suburban Me
11. Another Day In Quicksand
 

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